Celebrating Summer’s Good Things

This is my 400th post.

Apparently, I’ve had many, many things to say in these past 3 years of blogging. Probably too much to say, but that could simply be my INFJ showing a bit.

But 400 posts? I will admit that this post gave me writer’s block for a month.

What would be so amazing and special and wonderful to celebrate 400 posts? I really had no idea which is why I waited so long to post anything because I’m super awesome at freaking myself out over something as insignificant as a number. We all know that post 401 won’t be as difficult to write. But I digress…

Today is for celebrating this summer.

Hatteras Beach

Back in May, I decided to take my writing to the next scary level–submitting for publication. I joined Duotrope and scoured the markets and sent my words into the void. And waited and waited…got lots of rejections and waited and waited (Funny, how movies on writer’s lives never really feature this part of the story). In June, it finally happened—

I got my FIRST acceptance!

Believe me, this is when life needs to have a soundtrack playing because I totally heard “We Are the Champions” in my head. My flash fiction piece “Stolen Cake” had been picked up by a great publication called Writing Tomorrow. 

(Click here to go to the current issue with my piece in it)

Even as I went back reread my piece, I still really love it because it represents hours of writing, revisions, second guessing, and just telling my OCD to take a hike. It most certain wasn’t effortless, but so worth it.

I celebrated 7 years with my very own Redneck Romeo.

Wedding

I don’t know where the years have gone. We’ve loved and endured and smiled and laughed and changed and stayed the same. But this is life, my life, and I wouldn’t ask for a different one. Maybe, another trip to Disney World. We headed to Charlotte, NC for a night and explored the downtown or uptown or whatever area near the stadiums. Poolside, fruity drinks, and a good book then fancy appetizers at WoodVine. The braised pork belly in phyllo dough plus triple creme cheese and Spanish wine equals AMAZING! Afterwards, we had Jimmy Johns because tapas will never fill up my Cuddly Bear of a husband. Another lesson learned during these 7 years.

IMG_1087

I got to hang in REAL life with my blogging friend Alise Wright.

During our brief trip to Charlotte, I met up with Alise. While we’ve done the Google Hangout thing a couple of times, countless Twitter conversations, and discussions on our respective blogs, meeting her in real life was a bazillion times better.

Alise and Sarah

We chatted about books and life and blogging and writing. This is one of the great things about the internets–so many awesome people to meet. But it is also one of the sucky parts too because Alise should totally live closer to me along with so many of my internet only for now friends.

So, tell me what you’re celebrating this summer? What kind of posts would you like to see in the next 400 posts?

We’re Not Cliche

IMG_0070

We had never been out together on Valentine’s Day. 

Until this year. But that’s part of the price(not really much of a price), we pay for a ready-made family and two smallish kids back at the beginning. Our first Valentine’s Day, a late dinner after the kids were tucked in bed, steaks and flowers and maybe an episode of LOST(you know back when the show was good). Small and so far removed from the hearts and pinks and diamond jewelry, and everything I grew up believing Valentine’s Day would be. It isn’t. All the girl talk in the dorm was bullshit compared to reality.

Of course, we went out later in the week when we had a babysitter. We were the couple who white-people danced at a Brad Paisley concert dodging beer spills and the other dancers just as off beat as we were. Eighteen rows from the stage, I sang along to the songs I knew, made up words, or just swayed to the steel guitar. He never sang a word just smiled and enjoyed the show. We laughed at the Sonic drive-thru waiting for slushes because we were both too cheap to pay the highway robbery prices at the concert. And we returned to the quietness, the normality of our relationship. We’re not the going out on the town types. Never have been, doubtful, it will change.

We defy romantic cliche by necessity. 

We’ve spent Valentine’s Day sick with the flu or cooking pasta or grilling more steaks, always at home because we had kids and babysitters  are expensive. He has sent flowers–always knowing to avoid red roses. Somehow, we worked out how to make the day special. We’ve climbed up mountains and bought truffles. Or simply ordered Chinese food and sat on the couch together.

But this year, we went out on the actual day. 

I dressed up my jeans with red lipstick and a bright scarf. He made reservations early that morning and brought home yellow roses with red tips. We laughed at the special menu(who buys champagne at $140 a bottle? not us!). I love the surprise of the whole evening, and I had no idea that he planned so far in advance. For him, 7am that morning IS advanced planning.  Our evening didn’t have the romantic comedy ending nor did I expect it to.

I’ve given up my idealized, wonderland Valentine’s. A utopia of sorts.

Even on our first Valentine’s Day out, we giggled at the couple to our right. First couple dates into a relationship, still young with awkward pauses, favorite food/movie/job questions. We’ve left that stage far behind in these years that we have worn together. He can tell you all my favorites, and I can tell you his.

But we aren’t as far long in life as the couple seated to our left. Retired, but not old and senile. Every so often, we heard the whispers about grandchildren and obligations and errands. But we heard their dreamings too.  I long for the slowness of life when we can focus on dreaming of our. Right now, busy has been the order of days. We’re worn out by 8pm from work and lessons plans and grades. This is our life, a quiet life. It suits us better than anything else ever could.

For the quiet life is no cliche, it is who we are.

 

For Richer or Poorer

Six years ago, I said my vows, slipped rings on  fingers, declared a commitment for richer or poorer–only expecting the richer, not the poorer.

According to the Heritage Foundation and the GOP, we married women are far better off than our single mother counterparts. If we have children, our children thrive under our economic stability. We pay for our next meal and several others by waltzing up and down the grocery store aisles and choosing the food options that we want. Never giving thought if we can afford our free range, cage free, all organic chicken. Since we are married, we should only be concerned about how rich we will be at retirement because marriage is the cure-all for economic downfall, poverty, and the clogged kitchen sink. So, I would love someone to explain this to me:

Why am I poorer now as a married, educated woman than I was when I was single?

When I said these vows, I envisioned a life trajectory in which our earthly, monetary stuff would increase exponentially. But it hasn’t. When the 2008 financial collapse devastated so much of our nation’s wealth, we were affected too. For the past four years, we have agonized over money spent on food, gas, car payments. This wasn’t the richer that I imagined. I grew up penny-pinching, scraped by on a Christian school teacher’s meager salary, and marriage should have been a step up, a raise in income. But I was wrong.

Of course, education, when combined with marriage, should bring me financial independence. Being a life-long learner, I enrolled in graduate school, worked full-time teaching, graduated with honors. Again, the future looked bright and lovely–a new wealthier future. I applied to my dream jobs, an artful resume and CV designed to impress. Waited and waited and waited, only to receive rejection letters, our school can’t fund the position, someone else is better than you. Again, I saw only the glimmer of better days but now suffered the crushing weight of reality.

Marriage will not cure poverty. This oversimplification only allows us to ignore the broken systems that produce poverty.

We cling to broken systems because it is too much work to come together and fix them. Of course, we tell the poor to get a job or go back to school. Perhaps, we tell ourselves this also as we struggle to balance budgets. So we burden ourselves with guilt, with student loans and interest payments, with sleepless nights praying that the foreclosure notices don’t come tomorrow. We rest our hopes in these system that should protect us, but our hopes fail. Maybe, we will pick ourselves up, try to mend the fabric of our society destroyed by political pandering. We will yell and protest and shout the gender and racial stereotyping in our legal system. Perhaps, we donate our time to the food bank because it is the only way we can get food. Once we are wrecked by our well-regulated systems, we start doing something about them.

What is truly sad is we only care about fixing these systems once we get screwed over by them.

 

Subscribe today and never miss a post!

Never Miss a Post. Subscribe by entering your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

for these six years

Yesterday, my Redneck Romeo and I celebrated 6 years of marriage, of faithfulness.

He encouraged me to go graduate school, to writing classes, to keep writing. Today’s poetry is for him.

for these six years

 

walk into the office

i sit at my corner space to write

behind me, i know there is another wood desk

facing east, looking out the window

and a pile of white socks next to it.

for these six years,

there has been the same pile

that my dogs play tug-o-war for

that i rescue more than i wash.

i cuss over this pile when i have washed

the whites and fretted over the holey-ness of it.

but–

i don’t want it to go away

because when this pile

of sweaty socks stops showing up,

he won’t be with me

walking around in his boots,

mucking up those white socks.

 

Subscribe today for poetry in your inbox!

 

Never Miss a Post. Subscribe by entering your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Together

junia

I. 

Today, yesterday, years ago…

I had a voice, a strong female, estrogen filled to the brim,

Overflowing voice–

But a leather-bound 1611 KJV slapped hard till

I couldn’t speak above a whisper then

Silence. Voiceless and adrift

In testosterone oceans

Of those who tried speaking for me

But couldn’t.

Then, a man in a black suit, teary eyed

Stood waiting for me down the narrow aisle

Between pews and stained glass

With eyes watching, hearts joined.

He awoke my voice, my strong female,

Estrogen filled to the brim voice,

From its Silence

So we two could talk

Together.

_______________________

II.

Together,

Our lives fold up like a Swiss Army knife.

Together,

We cut and twist and open

Working side by side

Different and same

In one plastic red case.

Apart–

We’re just a bunch of tools.

Together,

We’re one.

_____________________

III.

Together,

We slip into the night

Day weary, work slogged

Bodies grasping for rest.

There below the picture windows,

Dishes piled high from supper,

Shut the door, ignore the unwashed sock tower

Dangerously close to toppling over.

Slip off towards living room and sofa

To weave our mundaneness

Into stories and dreams and lives.

Half sunk into cushions,

We mingle parts of ourselves into every word

Until we can’t recognize our separate tales–

Our story so intertwined into a unified plot

Pushing us toward forever.

But isn’t this how marriage works–

Two become one, equals and friends,

Spinning our stories from

You and me into us and we?

 

Today’s post is in celebration of Mutuality Week 2012 hosted by blogger and friend Rachel Held Evans. We are writing about how we egalitarians do this marriage thing, this equality thing, this mutuality thing. As a poet-writer, I bring my offering as poetry. Go and read several of the amazing posts, link up with the syncroblog, and follow the hashtag #Mutuality2012.

Consider subscribing for more poetry in your inbox!

Never Miss a Post. Subscribe by entering your email address:
Delivered by FeedBurner

Monday Musings: March 26

Good Morning, Monday,

I’m not sure if I want to get up and greet your chill, ignore the labor of your siren song, but I really have no choice. I’m up and writing and working. Shooing children out the door for school, sipping coffee. The lone bird song filters in through the office window sparkling with joy–joy that I am positive you, Monday, did give to her!

Today, I ponder these words by Mary Wollstonecraft in A Vindication of the Rights of Women:

“an unhappy marriage is often very advantageous to a family, and the neglected wife is, in general, the best mother.”(56)

What are your thoughts? Does an unhappy marriage mean we are better mothers?


Trade in the Pompoms: Guest Post

Autumn’s calling cards…

Red and orange and yellow leaves, check. Cooler temperatures and cozy wool sweaters, check. Sunday afternoons spent watching football, check. For most of Fall, football dominates the Sunday afternoon agenda. No, I’m not a football widow during the season. I graciously submit the remote to my Redneck Romeo on Sundays especially during the Carolina Panthers games.

Sometimes, I watch the game too. Sometimes, I watch the cheerleaders. Who can miss all the pompom waving, short skirt wearing, cheerleaders screaming out “Let’s Go Panthers” or insert an NFL team of choice?

In marriage, we are often told that we should be our partner’s best cheerleader.

Today, I’m guest posting on Some Wise Guy…as part of the Some Wise Gal series. To find out WHY we need to trade in our pompoms, head over to Some Wise Guy.

Then read the other contributors and K.C., the blogger and wise guy.